It made a pleasant change to have dry fairly warm weather for the sixteen members and one very well behaved dog, Louie,who met at the Medina Park Picnic Site for a walk beside the Medina estuary to Dodnor and back along the cycle -path.There was much wildlife from start to finish as well as a little local history.
First stop was the Hurstake foot bridge to admire a stone statue of a contemplative sitting lady, inscribed with the artists initials SFE and dated 2007.Nearby is a pentagram inscribed with geological destinations:Nile Delta;Gurnard;Tuvalu (a group of atolls in the South Pacific);Texcel (an island off the coast of the Netherlands) and the Sunderbans (a National Park in Bangladesh).
The group then proceeded towards Ship and Launch House and Newport Rowing Club.
Today no evidence exists of the 19th century Hurstake Shipyard where many naval frigates were built and launched into the Medina Estuary.As well as the shipyard there was a public house, The Ship and Launch.When the public house ceased trading the building was converted into a private dwelling which still retains the name Ship and Launch House
Looking towards Dodnor (photo:Dave Trevan)
Newport Rowing Club has been at Hurstake since 1863.
Along the shore were typical halophytic plants like Bolboschoenus martitimus “Sea Club Rush”,Althaea officinalis “Marsh Mallow”,Sueda martima “Annual Sea Blite”, Halimione portulacoides “Sea Purslane” and Glaux maritima “Sea Milkwort”.
Bolboschoenus martimus “Sea Club Rush”
On the shore between Hurstake and the Medina Valley Centre we took note of a row of five boundary stone inscribed with BN (Borough of Newport).
At the tideline by Riverview Park a grey heron was feeding while close by s young black headed gull begged food from its parents.
Peregrine Falcon (photo:Dave Trevan)
While everybody was admiring several patches of Frankenia laevis “Sea Heath” beside Dodnor Pond a sudden shout of “Peregrine” drew our attention to a pair of Peregine Falcons at rest on the Vesta’s factory roof and wall. During May two birds occupied a nest box at Vesta’s and by June 2 chicks had hatched and fledged.
Grey Heron (photo:Hazel Trevan)
From Dodnor mill pond we walked past several pretty but unpleasantly smelling plants of Hypericum hircinum “Stinking Tutsan”.
A short detour was then made to Stag Lane to observe two particular plants, namely “Yellow wort” Blackstonia perfoliata and Galium parisiense “Wall Bedstraw”, a third island record of this easily overlooked plant. We returned to the picnic site by way of the cyclepath, remembered by some of us as the old railway line where steam trains chugged back and forth between Cowes and Newport from 1862 until 1966.
On the way round Toni took note of butterflies which included Green veined Whites, several Gatekeepers and a Ringlet.
Green Veined Butterfly (Pieris napi) (photo Dave Trevan)
Jackie logged the birds , these included two Green Woodpeckers,magpie,Blackcap,Blackbird, Robin,Blue Tit, Long tailed Tit, Wren,Collared Dove,Kestrel,Coot, Mallard and Osytercatcher.
“Goats’s Rue” Galega officinalis (photo:Dave Trevan)
Dave added to the floral observations with species such as Sonchus arvensis “Corn Sow Thistle”, Genista tinctoria “Dyer’s Greenweed”,Vicia cracca “Tufted Vetch”,Galega officinalis “Goats Rue”, Calystegia sepium “Hedge Bindweed”, Centaurium erythraea “Common Century”,Clinopodium vulgare are “Wild Basil”, Hypericum perforatum “Perforate St. John’s Wort”.One very notable cultivated plant was seen in the garden of one of the Riverview Park bungalows was a magnificent display of Dierama pulcherrimum “Angels Fishing Rods” or the “Wand Flower”,a South African plant truly thriving in its many colours in this location.
Dierama pulcherrimum “Angel’s Fishing Rods”
By the time we arrived back at the picnic site we were all quite astonished at just how much had been seen and discussed. All agreed it had been a most enjoyable walk.
(added by Dave Trevan)
Jackie Hart observed the following list of birds on the walk:
Star of the morning :Adult and juvenile Peregrine Falcon on Vespa’s factory(see image above)
Great Black Backed Gull
2 sets of 2 Mute Swan
Great Spotted Woodpecker 28 species
I also observed the following fungi:
Amanita fulva ( “Tawny Grisette”)
Amanita fulva “Tawny Grisette”
Amanita rubescens “The Blusher” (photo:Dave Trevan)
I also noted the following butterflies:
Green Veined White Butterfly